Running the pro-Brexit 'Leave' campaign has always looked like an uphill struggle. In the absence of credible arguments they have had to cobble together a campaign based on old lies, scaremongering and a handful of celebrity endorsements.
It seemed inevitable the pressure would tell and things took a strange twist on Wednesday when the Leave campaign issued a bizarrely-worded threat against ITV. This followed the broadcaster booking Nigel Farage - arguably the most established critic of the EU in British politics - to debate Brexit.
A statement from the Leave campaign, claims this is a secret plot by "The Establishment" (capitalisation their own) to freeze out their champions Boris Johnson and Michael Gove.
"The Establishment …[are] now fixing the debates to shut out the official campaign… ITV has lied to us in private while secretly stitching up a deal with Cameron to stop Boris Johnson or Michael Gove debating the issues properly. ITV has effectively joined the official IN campaign and there will be consequences for its future – the people in No.10 won’t be there for long."
It’s desperate stuff. Putting aside the ridiculous non-specific threat, 'team Boris' suggesting anybody else benefits from an unfair leg-up from the media shows a ludicrous lack of self-awareness. The same goes for their cries of "MEDIA BIAS!" given the open backing the Leave campaign has received from the likes of Rupert Murdoch, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express.
The statement from the Leave campaign also suggested political editor Robert Peston is actually running ITV and is abusing his authority to push a pro-EU agenda on the broadcaster.
Peston dismissed this as "a mad slur".